Any Old Business?

How it is that I…how is it…or, rather, why it is that I…that I seem to
keep…or, really, that I do keep, that I keep ending up…that every
single night I look at the clock, I look at the clock and it’s two o’clock in
the morning, it’s three o’clock in the morning and I…I keep ending up at
three o’clock in the morning, I keep ending up sitting here with…I don’t
know, I keep ending up sitting here with all this shit, surrounded by
all this shit? Night after night I’m sitting here, I’m sitting here night after
night on the floor with my back against these racks of records, surrounded
by these shelves full of shit, shelves full of plastic,
anthropomorphized potatoes and carrots and hamburgers, all of them with
hats on their heads and pipes in their mouths and their arms paralyzed in an
embracing gesture that I often find disturbing.

I’m sitting here with my legs crossed and my back up against all this
shit…I’m sitting here in this ridiculous and uncomfortable position, night
after night, delivering incoherent monologues to the beleaguered animal that shares my
home…and what the fuck is this I’m listening to? Honest to God, explain to me
if you can why I am sitting here like this, trying to read about the Donner
party and poor Lewis Keseberg, who was driven by madness and the most desperate
of circumstances to eat a woman named Mrs. Murphy. "The flesh of starved
beings contains little nutriment," the cannibal Keseberg assures me.
"It is like feeding straw to horses. I cannot describe the unutterable
repugnance with which I tasted the first mouthful of flesh. There is an
instinct in our nature that revolts at the thought of touching, much less
eating, a corpse….It has been told that I boasted of my shame –said that I
enjoyed this horrid food, and that I remarked that human flesh was more
palatable than California beef. This is a falsehood. It is a horrible,
revolting falsehood. This food was never otherwise than loathsome, insipid, and
disgusting." Explain to me why I would continue to read as this poor man
was asked by his interrogator, Did you boil the flesh? And as he
responded, "Yes! But to go into the details –to relate the minutiae– is
too agonizing! I cannot do it! Imagination can supply these. The necessary
mutilation of the bodies of those who had been my friends rendered the
ghastliness of my situation more frightful."

I mean, seriously, holy shit, every fucking night….What is this? Why am I
sitting here listening to…George Crumb? Is that what the hell this is? Or Morton Feldman? And at some point –this for certain– listening to Lou
Reed, the idiot prince of rock and roll, listening to that jackass Lou Reed,
listening to this lunatic Lou Reed reduce Edgar Allan Poe to the most wrenching
and painful sort of comedy. Are there even one thousand other misguided people
on the planet who have paid to be thusly abused? Please assure me there are
not, even as it gives me considerable anguish to know that there almost
certainly are. But what in God’s name is wrong with me that I would pay
good money for a CD on which Lou Reed makes a muddled mockery of "The

Look, honest to God, this is the fucking truth: No man
should ever find himself sitting hunched on the
floor with a pen paralyzed in his fingers listening to Lou Reed’s
“The Raven” at two o’clock in the morning. No man should ever eat red licorice
and corn chips for dinner –not at three a.m. Not ever. No man should ever sit
at four a.m. raking the soiled carpet with his fingers and building
bewildering piles of lint and scruff and dog dander and pubic hair and chips of
indeterminate origin. No man should ever put these piles in an ashtray and burn them. No man should ever write such words as those that
preceded the words ‘No man should ever write such words….’ No man should ever
spend so many hours sitting in one dank apartment that the liquor of his own
stench has become intoxicating and the crawling of the hours has reduced him to
a savage who cannot remember his last truly conscious thought. No man should
ever sit studying a diagram of the arteries of the brain as if it were a
satellite photo of a country that no longer exists. No man should ever look up
from his hunched stupor at five a.m. and find himself gazing into the clearly
terrified face of an elderly paperboy framed in the window of his front door.